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Extended Audio Sample Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon Audiobook, by Craig Nelson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (604 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Craig Nelson Narrator: Richard McGonagle Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2009 ISBN: 9781101079362
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A richly detailed and dramatic account of one of the greatest achievements of humankind.

At 9:32 A.M. on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 rocket launched in the presence of more than a million spectators who had gathered to witness a truly historic event. It carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins to the last frontier of human imagination: the moon.

Rocket Men is the thrilling story of the moon mission, and it restores the mystery and majesty to an event that may have become too familiar for most people to realize what a stunning achievement it represented in planning, technology, and execution.

Through interviews, 23,000 pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Craig Nelson re-creates a vivid and detailed account of the Apollo 11 mission. From the quotidian to the scientific to the magical, readers are taken right into the cockpit with Aldrin and Armstrong and behind the scenes at Mission Control.

Rocket Men is the story of a twentieth-century pilgrimage, a voyage into the unknown motivated by politics, faith, science, and wonder that changed the course of history.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 2/16/2014

    " Oh, heck. I love space travel. This book is for the Apollo junkie. Thus: I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 2/9/2014

    " I thought this was going to be a book about Elton John's lovers but instead turned out to be an exciting and informative history of Apollo 11 and the space race in general. I wasn't crazy about the 3 part structure of this book, specifically how the middle section was sequenced, but I still thought the book as a whole was fantastic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 2/6/2014

    " A good overview of the Apollo program. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Clarkson | 1/22/2014

    " An excellent behind the scenes look at the space race up to Apollo 11. The author details the determination of the scientists, engineers and astronauts who made this happen, telling their stories. Looking at the failures as well as successes, this book shows that it wasn't all glamour.[return][return]Well worth a read. I read this just after the closing of the Space Shuttle programme...I think the world needs more characters like these. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean Monahan | 1/19/2014

    " Absolutely terrific. Revolving around the July 20 1969 moonwalk, but also includes the history of all that came before the moonwalk--all that went into the achievement--and also what happened to the astronauts and their families following the moonwalk. The details of the trip are still fascinating....the discomforts they endured, the incredible hours they spent on the moon, the engineering genius and a few flaws, the profoundly TENUOUS aspects ......so many many things could have gone wrong, fatally so, but somehow didn't. It's so great to read about this 40 years on.....he brings it to life and makes it all relevant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 1/12/2014

    " This is a rich history of the space program, very well written and researched. Some of the 'inside' information about the early space flights and man's walk on the moon made me realize how much luck was involved. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 1/9/2014

    " Insight into how little we actually knew when urged by Kennedy to 'put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and bring him back safely.' "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gregory Dickison | 12/23/2013

    " A well written history of the people and events that culminated in the Apollo 11 moon landing. The before and after story shows how an amazing achievement came from the fortuitous anomalies of history and the dedicated hard work of thousands of people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron Crooks | 12/11/2013

    " Comprehensive looks at they politics, engineering and human grit behind the space-race from an American point of view. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 12/7/2013

    " I love the whole history of how we developed the technology to get ourselves to the moon. It's amazing to read about how many mistakes we made and that we still had some men who were willing to get in and try it!! WOW! I'm 3/4 of the way finished and loving this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vivian | 11/23/2013

    " A very nice overview of NASA and the first moon flight. The book was well paced and had a good mix of information and ancedotes that kept the story moving along well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 4/13/2013

    " A good retelling of Apollo 11 and the events leading to it. There were a great couple of pages on the astronauts kids impressions of what was going on. The final chapter on the lack of space exploration since the early 70's seemed out of place to the main story, and overly long. Worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mr.B | 2/28/2013

    " A thorough retelling of Apollo 11's mission to the moon, and everything about the space program leading up to it and since. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel DeLappe | 12/19/2012

    " This is a fantastic book. This book is well written. Details of the NASA programs are great. Anyone instersted in the space race should read this "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 6/3/2012

    " Loved it. Only book I've read twice in the same year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Blair | 10/15/2011

    " This book is for anyone who's interested in the Mercury - Gemini - Apollo space program that culminated in the 1969 manned moon landing. You know who you are. Get this book and read it. Better than all the other "I was there" books, except possibly the ones by Gene Kranz and Deke Slayton. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 10/12/2011

    " Interesting, though a little slow until you get to the part where they are actually on their way to the moon. Not super technical, but enough that it isn't "casual" reading. Took me a while to finish, but I'm glad I did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 7/26/2011

    " This was so good! Having not lived through this time myself, I think my generation takes it for granted that we "won" the space race and landed on the moon. And no one questions why we haven't been back. Well, this book made me ask. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janice | 7/20/2011

    " Absolutely fascinating and inspiring. I could not put this book down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 6/7/2011

    " I love primary source research, especially on a subject that I know a little bit about, and Rocket Men is chock full. A highly compelling read that makes the achievement of the moon landing so much more remarkable in light of the political and bureaucratic obstacles in its path. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Killen | 6/3/2011

    " If you enjoy the space program, you will love this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 5/21/2011

    " Interesting account of the space race up to Apollo 11. It taught me what a product of the times the moon landings were. The book does not do a good job of setting out the chronology clearly, and it strangely zooms in on some events and skims over others. Still, a worthwhile read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laird | 3/18/2011

    " About as accessible an account of the Space Race as you can find. I've now read this twice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 2/11/2011

    " An incredible book, a great discussion of the run up and completion of the Apollo program. I thought this brought a great perspective to the moon landing effort, equipment, men and politics. Some interesting conversation at the end of the book about the direction of the space program post Apollo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 1/10/2011

    " Interesting, though a little slow until you get to the part where they are actually on their way to the moon. Not super technical, but enough that it isn't "casual" reading. Took me a while to finish, but I'm glad I did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/1/2010

    " Oh, heck. I love space travel. This book is for the Apollo junkie. Thus: I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mr.B | 10/2/2010

    " A thorough retelling of Apollo 11's mission to the moon, and everything about the space program leading up to it and since. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 9/23/2010

    " Comprehensive looks at they politics, engineering and human grit behind the space-race from an American point of view.

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 9/11/2010

    " A tough read at first. Very dense, and with some rather bad writing and organization. It definitely got better about half-way through, and offers some very interesting questions about what happened to our national desire to be first in space. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 8/15/2010

    " Nelson's telling of the history of the Apollo program (primarily Apollo 11) is fascinating. It's not really chronological in nature and does tend to bun e around but it is very interesting reading. "

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About the Author

Craig Nelson is the author of three previous books. His writings have appeared in Salon, Blender, Genre, and a host of other publications. He was an editor at HarperCollins, Hyperion, and Random House for almost twenty years. He lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Richard McGonagle is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and an experienced film, television, and voice-over actor. He has appeared in such films as Rules of Engagement and such television shows as The Practice and JAG.